UK stainless: suggestions for improvement

The British Stainless Steel Association (BSSA) has tripled its turnover in the last year, said Duncan Munro, Director of the BSSA, in a speech delivered at the BSSA Luncheon held in Sheffield on 22 April 2004. However, it is uncertain to what extent the BSSA’s activities have increased UK demand for stainless steel. UK demand for stainless flat and long products for conversion into intermediate or finished goods has actually fallen since the peak reached in 1999. This is a similar pattern to the market for all UK steel products, but a worse performance for stainless steel than the European average. However, the construction sector, another sphere in which the BSSA is active, is more positive, especially in the commercial and public segments, where stainless steel is increasingly used for its strength and durability, as well as for its versatile, modern appearance, said Mr Munro. And there are plenty of opportunities for greater use of stainless steel in utility sectors, such as the water industry; in the rapid evolution of new sources of energy generation; in lightweight structures in transport and construction; and in traditional areas of UK economic strength, such as pharmaceuticals and food processing. Mr Munro called for improved dialogue with product designers and engineers, as many are still not aware of the potential that stainless steel offers. He also called for a more imaginative approach to design at the formative stage, and mentioned the need to create new images for stainless steel. The emergence of China and India as economic heavyweights presented opportunities as well as threats, Mr Munro concluded.

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